3 Ways Your Diet Affects Oral Health
As a newborn baby, you had no unhealthy bacteria in your mouth. But due to the birth process, food supply, and other environmental factors, from birth forward your mouth’s health began to be influenced both positively and negatively. We know what we eat affects our bodies, but we’re probably not as aware that what we eat and when we eat it has a significant impact on oral health. Dietary choices are important in maintaining healthy mouths. At Lifetime Family Dental, we have the following suggestions to help you make good decisions for the sake of your oral health:
1. Sugar, Sugar, Sugar!
You are probably aware that sugar is hard on teeth, so you may not eat a lot of chocolate bars or sugary cereals. But if you eat canned, frozen, or packaged foods from the grocery store, you’re eating added sugars found in most ingredient lists of processed food items. Sugar is also found naturally in fruits and vegetables, making it hard to keep your intake low.
While sugar takes the brunt of the blame for damaging your teeth, it is actually the process that sugar sets in motion that is so detrimental to your oral health. Essentially, harmful bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and create an acidic environment. Your mouth prefers more neutral Ph levels. The acidity created by the harmful bacteria then leads to a number of reactions that can end in tooth decay. The explanation can become a bit technical, so if you want a more detailed explanation, take a look at this informative article. If you do choose to eat sugary foods, they’re best consumed with a meal. During a meal, your mouth produces more saliva that can rinse your teeth and help remove plaque.
2. Drink Plenty of Water Water
Our bodies are made up of 60% water, so it is a pretty good assumption that drinking enough water throughout your day will strengthen your teeth and keep a healthy balance in your mouth. A dry mouth is a playground for bacteria. Water not only helps by washing away unwanted food particles and harmful bacteria during and after a meal, it also makes up 99% of your saliva. Among its other jobs, saliva is responsible for weakening acids produced by those bacteria in your mouth that can produce tooth decay. In addition, drinking water fortified with fluoride offers the added benefit of strengthening your tooth enamel.
3. Eat Fiber-Rich Fruits and Vegetables
The American Dental Association says eating fiber-rich foods helps to clean your mouth, and it also helps to get your saliva flowing. Saliva is important because it contains calcium and phosphate, which aid in reversing tooth decay by restoring minerals that were lost to bacterial acids. Other than maintaining good home dental care, this is the best natural line of defense against tooth decay and gum disease.
A healthy supply of saliva also aids in the digestive process, which begins right in your mouth, and so the process comes full circle!
When you eat – be mindful!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/04/2018) Liz West (Flickr)